High-priced Liquor Triggers Fears of Corruption

Date:2011-08-26lile  Text Size:

This photo published on Thursday, August 25, 2011, shows a crock of Wuliangye liquor at a shopping mall in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, which is priced at 169,000 yuan. [Photo: Sanqin Metropolitan Daily]

The sale of overpriced famous liquors at a shopping mall in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, have triggered public concern about spirit manufacturers' intentions to capitalize on corruption by encouraging the purchase of expensive spirits to give to officials, the "Sanqin Metropolitan Daily" reports.

Many consumers believe that overpriced products, especially spirits, are meant to be purchased as gifts for officials and influential businesspeople. Some worry that the high-priced spirits may be used to bribe such people.

The price of a 600-milliliter bottle of Mao-tai liquor shot up to 60,000 yuan (US$9,400) at the mall from its previous average price of around 1,400 yuan, while the price of a six-liter crock of Wuliangye liquor reached 169,000 yuan (US$26,400), nearly the cost of a mid-range car, the report said. Usually a bottle of 500-mililiter Wuliangye is priced from 400 to 2,000 yuan according to its different alcoholic degrees and ages.

Although the prices are unbelievable high, three crocks of Wuliangye liquor have been sold within two months, according to the salesperson, who revealed that more people chose Mao-tai for collections or as gift.

The luxury Mao-tai brew was manufactured between October 1, 1949, and October 1, 2009, with only bottle produced daily, according to an unnamed salesperson at the mall. The bottles are sold along with a section of the "People's Daily" newspaper with the same production date as the liquor, and a stamp album of China's 12 zodiac signs. Some shoppers even ordered the bottles half a month ago to buy one with an auspicious production date.

The Wuliangye liquor, with an alcoholic content of 70 percent, is bottled in fine Jingdezhen porcelain crocks which are also collectors' items, the salesperson said.

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